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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Allergen Recalls - What is the cause of the problem?

In the News:

The airwaves are abuzz with recalls "due to undeclared" presence of allergens. When you read the notices, the reasons given often start with the phrase "due to . . . " these actually point to the problem; not the cause. We are left with the question: What is the cause of this problem?

First check these twitter posts, and then check to see all of the solutions to the problem that have been published. Here is one from the University of Nebraska: “Allergen Control in the Food Industry

So why are these recalls not abating but seem to be increasing for food allergens that have been long known to exist?

The challenge is expanding in Australia and New Zealand. On 25 May 2017 lupin was added to this list of allergens that must be declared.

Does the SSQA concept have any solution to offer?
Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

The Larger Conversation: Video Clips from the Wall Street Journal Global Food Forum

The Larger Conversation
(Beyond the 3rd Party Audits Small Talk)

In this larger conversation, we need real solutions in the matter of ensuring safe, accessible, affordable, sufficient, sustainable, and quality food. Solutions that are partial, superficial and cater only to the wealthy parts of our world should be abandoned for the sake of consumers in all nations, the affluent and the less affluent.

Use Twitter hashtag  #wsjglobalfood; #thelargerconversation
Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Sensible EU Proposal

In contrast to the generic and highly commercialized 3rd party certification vogue, this EU proposal makes a lot of sense. It is a very good example of cutting nonsense out of the business of assuring the safety of food:

Here is why:
·        It defines the frame of reference as safe food:
These requirements are the key elements to ensure the safe production of food, preventing contamination with biological, chemical or physical hazards . . .”

·        It recognizes the need to customize solutions according to each establishment:
“. . . taking into account the size and nature of the establishment on: . . . the flexibility provided for certain food establishments, in particular SMEs, by EU legislation related to the implementation of PRPs and HACCP).”

·        It identified sensible administrative levels:
at sectorial and national level to be directly applicable in specific establishments.”
Compared to the generic impositions of 3rd party certification programs with requirements that are often irrelevant to specific establishments, this approach is clearly more cost effective. It also promises better results with respect to the production of safe food.

The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) is following suit with a “. . . move away from a‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to regulation”. The Agency states:

"Our purpose is to make sure that people have safe food, food they can trust, and that it is what it says it is. We need to change the way food is regulated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, so we can be confident this stays the case for the food people buy and eat.”

This FSA statement, as does the EU Proposal identifies the same "safe food” purpose that GCSE-Food & Health Protection (GCSE-FHP) advocates. The FSA statement also recognizes the same things that have been identified as failure-prone food safety regulation and certification arrangements in several GCSE-FHP postings. In particular, consideration 18 of “the motion” essentially calls for what is now being attempted with the EU and the U.K. FSA proposals. Hopefully, these proposals will be developed to full adoption not only by the U.K. and EU, but by other jurisdictions around the world.

Along the same lines, the idea of generic food safety certification schemes need to give way to practical, customized and collaborative pursuit of solutions by and for the food establishments worldwide. Superficial food safety certification, though with flamboyant promotions, have produced much less than stellar results of safe food. Published results from the adoption of the certification schemes mostly show virtual success. Meanwhile, the reality everywhere is that of recurring recalls by many food establishments (including certified establishments) and many health hazards suffered by consumers.

The U.K. FSA is proposing ". . . a model that continues to use inspections and visits alongside the information . . .” gained . . . “from business’s data and accredited third party audits. . .”. For at least three reasons, I would change “accredited third party audits” to “credible audits conducted by any party (including the internal audits of the establishment)”. 1. A third party is not necessarily credible because it is accredited. 2. Third party audits often involve additional costs to establishments that may not be necessary. 3. The thought of having third party audits is usually due to lack of trust. If the U.K. FSA proposal is to truly succeed, it must be pursued in an environment of full collaboration and trust among all parties involved.
Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Food Fraud: A 2-Question Quiz

1. The Motive is the Cause of Food Fraud: Is this statement true or false?

      A - True

      B - False

2. Which would you say is the Root Cause of Food Fraud that incorporates the rest of the listed options?

      A - Economic Gain

      B - Lack of Integrity

      C - Lack of Moral Commitment

      D - Inconsiderate attitude

      E - Lack of Knowledge

Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Right HACCP Program for Restaurants that Truly Care about Diners

A Restaurant that Truly Cares about Diners Implements DMS-HACCP. But what is DMS-HACCP?

It has been demonstrated again and again that restaurants need more than the hurried "food handler" training that is currently the vogue among food service establishments. Contrary to the baffling FSMA Exemptions, restaurants and other food service outlets certainly need strict regulatory oversight until they have mastered the implementation of effective systems for assuring the safety and satisfaction of diners.

Restaurants need nothing short of DMS-HACCP. This is HACCP with consideration given to Difficult to Manage Situations (DMS) based on intelligence information gathered through the SSQA-FACTS strategy. The SSQA-FACTS strategy is also based on the operation’s reality.

Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate.